excited to announce two new articles published in the May and June issues of
the Journal of Dental Education. The ADEA
Educational, Research and Analysis (ADEA ERA) portfolio published “U.S. Dental
School Applicants and Enrollees, 2013
Entering Class report” and “U.S. Dental
School Deans’ Perceptions of the
Rising Cost of Dental Education and Borrowing Pressures on Dental Students: Report of Survey Results.”
The report on applicants and enrollees chronicles important trends that show a
steady growth in dental school applications and enrollment, and the report on the
cost of dental education gives a detailed
portrait of deans’ perceptions regarding the rising cost of dental education.
first-time, first-year enrollment in 2013 was 5,769, an increase of 5% from the
2012 enrollment of 5,483. The increase reflects expansion in class sizes at
existing schools and the opening of new dental schools, although this figure is
still below the peak dental enrollment in 1978 (6,301).
dentistry has grown steadily over the past two decades, resulting in a 137% increase
in dental school applicants from 1989–1990 to 2012–2013, for an average annual
growth rate of 11%. From the survey results, the total number of applicants
remained relatively stable at 12,162 for classes matriculating in 2013,
compared with 12,077 applicants in 2011–2012 and 12,039 in 2010–2011.
percentage of underrepresented minority (URM) applicants and enrollees
increased only slightly. URM students—Black or African American, Hispanic or
Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific
Islander—made up 14% of the overall applicant pool.
The “U.S. Dental School Deans’ Perceptions of the Rising Cost of Dental
Education and Borrowing Pressures on Dental Students: Report of Survey Results”
examines the top factors most affecting rising costs. The 2007–2009 recession
resulted in drastic cuts to state and federal funding for higher education and
impacted endowments for private and public institutions. Given such deep budget
cuts, tuition and fees have risen considerably. These increases have placed a
burden on both dental schools and dental students.
Deans reported that the top three reasons for increasing tuition costs
are new clinical technologies, technology costs and central university taxes. They
are aware of and concerned about the impact of tuition and fees increases on
dental student debt and are implementing various strategies to address the growth
Deans are concerned about the rising tuition and are trying to find ways
to help keep tuition and fees down. Thirty-eight percent said that to some
extent expanded clinical revenue was a factor in keeping tuition and fees down,
but only 17% said this helped to a great extent; 29% said that to some extent
development/fundraising to provide additional financial support of institutions
helped, but only 7% indicated this helped to a great extent.
findings are important for dental educators, health professions advisors, and
members of the broader dental community.